KORATS IN UNITED KINGDOM
Information update from the UK 'Korat Breed Advisory Committee' about the "Thai Lilac"
New documentary evidence has been found giving proof that the lilac variant of the Korat, existed and was known about in the west before the arrival of the first in Britain, Lilac Lillee born in 1989. She was the result of a grandfather/granddaughter mating, and her breeder went on to repeat this over several years, with one in four kittens being born lilac, showing both parents to be carriers of the recessive chocolate gene.
In the summer of 1993, when this BAC was considering proposals from the Korat Cat Association on acknowledging the lilac variant and including it the Korat registration policy,there was a considerable amount of correspondence on the subject, from this country, and abroad. Some was published in CATS. Other people wrote to the clubs representing Korat interests, many wrote directly to GCCF office. The view expressed by the great majority was some mismating had taken place, or there had been deliberate outcrossing, because Korats were blue from birth until death and no other colour could be Korat.
KBAC is well aware of the one colour tradition, but it did not alter the fact that two blue Korats were the parents of lilac offspring. Therefore the Committee decided that these were just as much the responsibility of KBAC as the blue cats, and, by accepting this, gained control of their status within the Cat Fancy, and the right to determine their future position.
However, their ancestry remained a subject for conjecture, as the origin of the recessive gene, though in all probability from Thailand, the breed's native country. was unknown. Some Thai lines showed Seal and Bluepoint Siamese, one named a Thai Copper, but these were not particularly close to the cats producing lilac, although it is well known that a recessive gene can remain hidden for many years.
This was proved not to be the case though with the British-born lilacs. Letters found in the files of the late Mrs Ianthe Cormack (bequeathed to KCA) detailed the arrival of a lilac born to a mother/son Korat mating in Djakarta in 1972. An application for the registration of 'Mr Moonlight' was made to CFA ( a US GCCF equivalent) but eventually he was given away without papers at the request of the Korat Cat Fanciers club in USA.
The explanation for this was that it did not uphold Korat traditions (in Thailand cats are described phenotypically according to the colour they are born), and it would make the club, 'the laughing stock of the cat fancy'. Depositions had been made to the USA registering authority at that time declaring the Korat to be a one colour breed. These carried implications that it was now genetically pure, hence the anxiety that the Djakarta lilac, and any others born, should not seek recognition.
However, Mr Moonlight had a litter brother, Fai Faa, properly registered and with a certified pedigree. He went to Mr and Mrs Bullock, a British couple in Indonesia at the time. Seven years later he came to this country, unneutered, and was at stud for a short period. He had a 50% chance of inheriting the recessive chocolate gene from each parent, and obviously did, as it was his son who went on to sire Lilac Lillee, her brothers and sister, and, of course, he was an ancestor of their more distant lilac relative born in North London.
It is possible that Thai lilacs have been born in other parts of the world, references in articles and letters are vague and cannot now be substantiated. Two other interesting facts though emerge from this newly discovered correspondence. The lilacs were known in their native country, the writer had seen one in a book shop in Bangkok. The Thai nomenclature isn't given, but by westerners they were called lavender, or champagne copper, given their rather fawn appearance, making them more obviously a dilute of the chocolate than the blue.
Also, one well known Thai breeder, Mr Chompoo Arthachinda, whose lines are common to many of the early Korat imports to USA, was actually endeavouring to breed a lilac cat, using Korat and Siamese stock. The lady in Indonesia is jokingly congratulated for having succeeded where he failed.
Even more convincing than this ancient correspondence though is the news that some recent matings with new bloodlines (mother/son and and mother's half sister) have both produced lilac offspring. The recent three Thai imports are not closely related to each other, or to Korats already in this country, but at least one must be a chocolate carrier, and test matings are planned to try and determine their genetic make-up.
What is now clear, beyond doubt, is that Thai Lilac lineage is the same as that of their blue relatives. Their origins too are in the Far East; there has been no mismanagement, either accidental, or deliberate, by any Korat breeder in this country. The original male carrier was at stud for many years before presence of the recessive chocolate gene was established. The new Thai lines have been widely used by breeders over the past two years. We shall probably have lilacs occurring in litters more frequently over the next few years and their future status will depend on their popularity with breeders and new owners.
News of 2002
Preliminary recognition has been given to the Thai Lilac and Thai Blue Ponts by GCCF.
Download the Standard of Points (SOP) of these new GCCF Breeds
For further information
contact Mrs. Jen Lacey who provided me with this document.